Wet weather moving out before event-filled weekend
The rainy weather Friday isn't keep organizers from getting ready for some big events in the Scenic City this weekend.
Miller Plaza in downtown Chattanooga is usually packed with music lovers on any given Friday night in the spring and summer. Tonight's crowd might shrink because of more rain expected during the evening.
"We have to pay these artists, anyway. They're here," says director Carla Pritchard. "They've committed their time and their schedule to be here to perform. So, we say the show goes on."
They don't cancel or reschedule. Performers stay dry under a canopy while on stage. The stage manager monitors the radar on his phones in case lightning is on the way during a concert. If necessary, they stop the show until the storm passes.
"A lot of people will just run to the pavilion. We do have a lot of standing rooms still on site with the pavilion," adds Pritchard.
The crew takes a common sense approach to setting up, covering equipment when a shower pops up. Pritchard admits some of the best shows have happened in the rain.
"If you're into the music at all, then you'll get a special opportunity to have maybe a smaller crowd, a more intimate musical experience," says Pritchard.
The rain was a bit of a nuisance while setting up for Jfest, another big weekend event. But director Ted Gocke didn't sweat it.
"Fortunately, we got started earlier in the week. On Monday we started. The tents came in Tuesday. We got all those set up," says Gocke.
Volunteers and other crew members took advantage of a few sunny days. Friday's rain, however, didn't dampen the spirits of those helping finish the job.
"Rain jackets. I've seen ponchos. I've seen garbage bags with holes in them. Whatever it takes," adds Gocke.
There's just one thing left to do to get ready for the faithful crowd at the largest Christian rock festival in the Tennessee Valley.
"Of course, we'll have to dry everything off and get it ready," says Gocke.
Jfest starts Saturday with a 5K/10K run at 8 a.m., followed by music and food. There's little to no rain in the forecast for the weekend!